Inspirational Morning Rituals from Deliciously Ella and Other Female Founders

Pear and maple syrup porridge: morning rituals

Over the past few years an increasing number of articles have surfaced around the morning rituals of inspirational and successful people.

When we use the words ‘morning rituals’, we’re describing a set of actions that someone performs every morning that have been prescribed additional meaning. The writing around morning rituals often makes big claims: adopting them could be ‘life-changing’ and lead to happier, more productive days. But, in reality, we’re all different and we’re not all natural early-risers.

Morning Rituals: The pinch of salt

Having said that, habits can be formed. In interview with The Washington Post, Christine Whelan, a public sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, gives advice on forming and sticking to a new habit.

She advises to make one change at a time – listing everything you want to do differently and trying to tackle it all at once is, in her words, “a recipe for failure“. Whelan also advises that resolutions should be specific and measurable – a commitment to being a happier person is extremely tricky to measure. Similarly, she also highlights that the change you are trying to make must be something you want to do, not something you feel you ought to do. So, before adopting (or failing to adopt) all of the healthy habits of the world’s entrepreneurs and lifestyle gurus, ask yourself if their goals are truly in line with your own.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in what else you could be doing in the morning to feel more productive or are wondering how you can start the day with your best foot forward. Perhaps you’re fed up of hitting the snooze button or scrolling through your social feeds in bed, or maybe you just want to try and exercise before work. Whatever your motivation, there’s inspiration in the idea that some of the world’s busiest people manage to adopt morning rituals that they now swear by. Here are three positive morning rituals from some of today’s most popular lifestyle gurus and female founders.

Morning Rituals from 3 Inspiring Female Founders

Waking Up with Deliciously Ella

After developing a limiting health condition at university and finding that medication wasn’t working, Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, eventually turned to her diet and lifestyle. She taught herself to cook and documented her plant-based experiments and recipes on her blog. Today, her community-led brand is wildly popular and boasts an app, multiple cookbooks and a deli. In essence, Ella works hard to ‘make vegetables cool’.

Although Ella is now an ambassador for a plant-based diet and enjoying what you eat, she didn’t always live this way. Her story is a great example of making positive change in your own lifestyle, even when it seems like nothing will make you feel healthier.

And her morning ritual? Yoga. Today, Ella swears by her morning yoga session from 6.30 a.m to 7.30 a.m. In an interview with The Cut, she explains, “No matter how I’m feeling. I find that it gives me a really good mind-set for the day and a real sense of positivity.” Before finding yoga, Ella would check emails and Instagram first thing and “…go into a vortex of stress at 6 a.m”. Sound familiar?

Founder of Kikki.K, Kristina Karlsson’s Morning Rituals

Kikki.K is a Swedish lifestyle and stationery brand. There is a positivity that runs through the beautiful products which include journals, planners and books centred around dreams, inspiration, wellness and setting goals. Founder Kristina’s new book Your Dream Life Starts Here helps readers follow a road map towards their dream life and is accompanied by her Your Dream Life podcast which explores the stories of inspirational people who have followed their dreams, despite major life obstacles.

Speaking to WGSN Insider, Kristina describes her morning ritual. She rises at 5am and has what she calls her “holy hour”. In this time, she journals. She writes down everything she is feeling and this helps her to explore any fears and risks she is experiencing. Kristina burns her papers after writing as this allows her to fully express herself and write freely, without worrying that someone else will read her thoughts at a later date.

What Arianna Huffington Avoids in the Mornings

Like Deliciously Ella, Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington (and previous co-founder of The Huffington Post), hasn’t always lived healthy habits. In 2007, she hit her head on her desk, breaking her cheekbone, after fainting from pure exhaustion and lack of sleep. At this point, she developed an obsession with the importance of sleep and began to take her morning ritual more seriously.

Now, she removes digital devices from her bedroom as she sleeps and tries to be in bed by 11pm. Speaking to My Morning Routine, Arianna summarises, “A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: when I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.” In this sense, it’s not just about the habits you are adding to your morning ritual, it’s about those that you are taking out.

From yoga to journaling, there are many habits to add to your morning ritual, and ultimately, just because these lifestyle gurus are doing these things, doesn’t make them right for the rest of us. Yet, a bit of inspiration is a good place to start!

Let’s Escape: Luxury Glamping on Croatia’s Istrian Coast

Glamping tent Croatia

It might not be for camping purists, but glamping is rising in popularity and there are many reasons to give it a try. The opportunity to enjoy all your home comforts in a beautiful and remote setting, but without a tent peg in sight – what’s not to like? While cosy shepherd’s huts in the Brecon Beacons or beach huts by the Cornish coast may spring to mind, glamping doesn’t always have to be a staycation. If you’re in need of inspiration for your next slow-inspired escape, discover what’s to love at Arena One 99 Glamping in Pomer, situated along the rugged Istrian coast in northern Croatia.

Arena One 99 Glamping Tent

The Scenery

Croatia is experiencing increasing visitor numbers from the UK. In the first six months of 2018, the country welcomed around 1.4 million Brits – up from just over one million during the same period of 2017. The soaring popularity of Croatia could well have something to do with the beautiful scenery and clear blue-turquoise waters along its coastline, as well as its value for money. The glamping accommodation at Arena One 99 is nestled among a forest of pine trees on a small hill overlooking the Adriatic. You wake to the smell of pine and the sound of the birds – it’s idyllic, as long as you have good neighbours.

Glamping in Pula, Istria

The Spa

One of the highlights of the site is the alfresco spa and wellness area. At the top of the hill, the spa enjoys hot tubs, a sauna with a floor to ceiling forest window, multiple teepees for treatments and a yoga area. It’s an oasis of calm and a great place to recharge.

Spa teepees Arena One 99

Tips for Glamping at Arena One 99

  • If you’re looking for complete solitude, this isn’t the glamping spot for you. While it’s relaxing and well-organised, it is a fairly big glamping site and there is a fairly busy road on the other side of the bay. For a quieter trip, go off season, avoid peak summer, or invest in ear plugs.
  • Bring mosquito spray. Although the tents come with nets, mozzies will always be around, particularly at dusk.
  • Try the truffle dishes and the Italian fusion cuisine. The on-site restaurant and Epulon Food and Wine in Pula are well worth a try.
  • If you can hire a car, do it. Going off-peak has its positives, but abundant public transport is not one of them. This is a fairly remote location and it is doable by taxi, occasional buses and Ubers, but to really explore the region at your leisure, a car (or boat!) would be useful. Having said that, there is something refreshing about working around a bus timetable and getting back to basics; Google hasn’t mapped it yet, so visit Pula Promet.
  • Download the app for the site. It still feels like a work-in-progress, but the ability to check all info you may need in-app and message reception, the spa etc. with any query or question is a really great feature.

If you fancy getting back to nature in sunnier climes, Arena One 99 might just be place for you. If you can’t forego a bathroom and like the idea of on-site bars and restaurants, a larger, luxury glamping experience is a great way to unwind without the hassle of pitching a tent.

6 Things Not To Miss at Kew Gardens

Spiral staircase at The Palm House Kew Gardens

When it comes to welcoming the change of seasons in London, there’s nowhere better than the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. The horticultural haven spans a 250 year history and, boasting over 300 acres, is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 20 years after acquiring the site in 1731, the Prince and dowager Princess of Wales created a garden for exotic plants. By 1769, the garden was home to 3,400 plant species.

Today, there’s more than 30,000. There’s no doubt that Kew Gardens has made and continues to make a significant contribution to the study of botany.

From blossom in Spring to autumnal colours in the arboretum, Kew Gardens is a botanical escape from Central London that’s worth visiting multiple times of the year. While the gardens are home to many hidden pieces of landscape design to find at your own pace, there are a few popular things to do at Kew that absolutely need to feature on your list.

1. Explore The Palm House

Kew is famous around the world for its impressive glasshouses which include plant species that are endangered and extinct in the natural world. Constructed in 1844, The Palm House is an important resource for the Gardens’ scientists, and for visitors, it’s almost like stepping into a humid, lush jungle. Push past the giant leaves and climb the beautiful Victorian spiral staircases to get a glimpse of the top of the canopy. It goes without saying that this spot is one for the ‘gram.

2. Visit The Prince of Wales Conservatory

The Prince of Wales is Kew Gardens’ patron and his namesake conservatory contains ten different climate zones. For fans of the indoor gardening and house plant trend, this Kew attraction is cacti and succulent heaven. Though, also worth admiring are the huge lily pads that can reach up to two metres in diameter. You’ll find more lily pads in The Waterlily House near The Palm House.

Lilypads at The Prince of Wales Conservatory Kew

3. Have Tea at The Orangery

A trip to Kew isn’t complete without a slice of cake at The Orangery. The restaurant/cafe housed in this 18th century building also serves warm breakfasts and pastries. Its sunny patio is a great place to start or finish your day.

4. Get Inspired at The Plant Family Beds

If you know your visit to Kew will leave you feeling green fingered, The Plant Family Beds, a traditionally British walled garden is a must-visit. While the glass houses are botanical bliss, they’re not something you can realistically replicate back home. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or allotment, this area of Kew has plants living alfresco in the Great British weather. If you prefer your veg plot over peonies and roses, the Student Vegetable Plots are in the same area. Get advice from first year Kew Diploma students and buy some produce grown on royal soil, if you’re lucky enough to visit when they’re doing a veg sale.

5. Wander the Treetop Walkway

For a very different view of a canopy of trees, ascend the 18 metre high Treetop Walkway that overlooks the Temperate House. Nestled in the arboretum, the contrast of trees and leaves with towering skyscrapers in the distance is an another must-see at Kew, especially during Autumn.

Treetop Walkway Kew in Autumn

6. Discover The Temperate House

After years of renovation, the Temperate House reopened to the public in May 2018. At twice the size of the Palm House, it’s the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. As the name suggests, plants from the temperate region (that’s Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands) are safeguarded here.

Steeped in history and science, The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew are as much an educational day out as they are a place to picnic, walk and breathe fresher air. Spend a few slow hours here and you’ll leave with a better connection to nature and the knowledge that you’ve made a small contribution to the protection of our planet’s biodiversity. Not bad for a Sunday, right?

Other things to do in the Borough of Richmond: Petersham Nurseries

3 Guilt-Free Reasons To Enjoy Glamping

Glamping safari tent with deckchairs

A yurt nestled in a valley, a wooden pod in the forest, or a hut by the beach. This is glamping; a hybrid word that blends ‘glamour’ and ‘camping’. It’s a concept that offers visitors a retreat into nature without the effort of pitching a tent, getting cold and worrying about said tent blowing away. It combines the benefits of traditional camping; escaping daily life and embracing the wild world, while not forgoing the home comforts. Over the past five years, Google trends data shows a steady rise in search interest around ‘glamping’ in the UK. And, during the past 12 months, this equates to 49,500 average Google searches each month. Even our taste in TV programmes has started to reflect our appetite for escaping into nature. George Clark’s Amazing Spaces – recently reaching seven series – and Dick Strawbridge’s Cabins in Wild, highlight not just popularity for visiting alternative accommodation, but building these places ourselves.

Camping purists would argue that glamping is cheating. A real toilet, a wood burning stove and a proper bed? That’s not real camping, they’d say. Is it really mandatory to suffer the hardships in order to fully experience nature? Of course not! In fact, the benefits of glamping are very much the same as those of camping, but with the added bonus of comfortable, stress-free surroundings.

Discover slow living inspired reasons to try glamping and find out why unplugging in the wild isn’t mutually exclusive with pitching a tent.


Glamping safari tent

3 Guilt-Free Benefits of Glamping

1. Enjoying Slow Travel

Glamping is a great way to experience slow travel. Often, we try to pack in as many sites as possible into short breaks, to ‘make the most’ of our annual leave. Carl Honore, speaker, writer, and at the forefront of the slow living moment, summarises: When we travel in roadrunner mode, we miss the small details that make each place thrilling and unique. We lose the joy of the journey. And at the end of it all, when every box on our To Do list has been checked, we return home even more exhausted than when we left.”

Glamping spots are often rural and remote, encouraging you to take in the sights, smells and sounds around you. After all, just because there are no sites to visit, doesn’t mean there is nothing to see.

2. Experiencing Boredom

“The concept of staying and being somewhere beautiful will always be popular and we believe that in modern life it has never been more important,” says Tom Dixon, managing director of Canopy & Stars, in an article for The Telegraph.

In the digital era, it’s not always easy to find downtime, or even realise that we need to. With an increasing number of apps and devices craving our attention, both at home and at work, it’s more challenging than ever to unplug. Discourse around how smartphone and tech overuse affects us is increasing (Forbes even called 2018 the year of digital detox), and there’s one particular consequence of our screen habit that glamping offers a great antidote for; our diminishing ability to experience boredom.

When was the last time you felt truly bored? Chances are that for most of us our phones are our go-to during awkward or quiet moments. In her TEDTalk ‘How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas’, Manoush Zomorodi explains that when we’re bored we ignite the ‘default mode’ in our body. This is when we do ‘auto-biographical planning’. In other words, we reflect on the big moments in our lives, take note, create a personal narrative, set goals and we decide how to reach them. Sounds quite important, right? To put this into perspective, Zomorodi asked the listeners of her podcast to take part in her project ‘Bored and Brilliant’, which challenged them to cut down their screen time over the course of a week. Of the 20,000 participants, 70% said they had experienced more time to think. She explains, “By doing nothing, you are actually being your most productive and creative self”. And CEO of digital detox app Space, Georgie Powell, confirms in a Guardian article: “It’s so powerful to be truly bored: nothing in your head and nothing in your hands, so you can daydream. I really think that’s when great ideas come.”

They say that ‘there’s no Wi-Fi in the forest, but you’ll find a better connection’. While many glamping spots do offer Wi-Fi, choosing to experience boredom, or just solitude, could help you reconnect and dream up big ideas.

3. Reconnecting with Nature

One of the biggest draws to camping and glamping alike is the promise of a tranquil setting. Be it by the coast, in a meadow, in the woods, or alongside a stream, glamping allows a closer connection to the natural world and all its scents and sounds. It’s no secret that getting some fresh air is good for us – it’s what our parents have been telling us since we were kids. But, for urbanites in need of a reminder, the Wildlife Trusts and the University of Derby conducted a ’30 Days Wild’ challenge where participants were asked to ‘do something wild’ everyday for a month. Participants describing their health as ‘Excellent’ increased by 30% after the 30 days were up, which adds to increasing research that nature is important for wellbeing, happiness and life satisfaction. Plus, glamping in beautiful scenery lends itself to walking and hiking, or in other words, free feel-good exercise.

For those who like the idea of getting back to nature, unplugging and getting a little headspace, but need a decent loo and bed, glamping is a great way to escape. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and ranges from sites to fully secluded spots, so it’s likely you’ll find your perfect pitch. Be it shepherd’s hut or pod, why not give glamping a try for you next adventure? Let’s ditch the glamping guilt!

Live Lagom and Prosper: Should Londoners Be Living Lagom?

Living Lagom: Scandi Lifestyle Book

London can often seem like a city that’s out of balance with itself. Sky-high property prices get you small, one bed flats. Opportunities are rife, but work-life balance is skewed. Londoners can be innovative and creative, yet wasteful. So, how should those living in the capital seek to find better balance with themselves and the world around them?

In her book, Live Lagom. Balanced Living, The Swedish Way, Anna Brones, the daughter of a Swedish expat, offers that “applying a sense of lagom to our everyday lives – be it in what we eat, what we wear, how we live, how we work- might just be the trick for embracing a more balanced, sustainable lifestyle…” Like the now-popular Danish concept of hygge, Swedish lagom is intangible and difficult to define. Though, unlike hygge which encompasses moments, lagom is a way of living. It describes an approach to life that focuses on just the right amount of everything and anything. Roots of the term are said to trace back to the Viking era. After a long day, the Vikings passed around horns of mead and each person was expected to take just a moderate sip, while leaving enough for the rest of the group.

Brones summarises lagom as “not too much, not too little… just something in the middle, the moderate choice between two extremes.” But a perhaps more useful definition for non-Swedes comes from Lola Akinmade Åkerström, a Nigerian-born, US-educated travel writer and photographer, who is now an expat in Sweden. In her BBC article ‘The Swedish word that’s displacing hygge’, she explains that the reason why lagom is difficult to translate is because its meaning changes in different situations. She mentions, “It could mean ‘appropriate’ in social settings, ‘moderation’ in food, ‘less is more’ in interior decor, ‘mindfulness’ in wellbeing, ‘sustainability’ in lifestyle choices and ‘logic’ in business dealings.” Explained in this way, lagom is easier to grasp.

So, should Londoners learn to embrace lagom? Is it the cheat code we’ve been unknowingly searching for to escape the rat race? Or, is it a romanticised trend?

Sustainability in the City

Material written about lagom, including Brones’ book, explains how lagom touches upon every area of our lives; from work to home and how we interact with the environment. For everyone’s favourite Swedish brand, IKEA, sustainability is at the heart of what they consider lagom. They believe that lagom is “what living a rewarding but responsible life is all about: not denying yourself or sacrificing what you love, while not taking from the planet more than you need.” Ikea’s Live Lagom project encourages people to make small changes to their lifestyles to show how living sustainably can be affordable and achievable.

With the lowest average household recycling rates of any region in the UK, it’s probably true that many in London could make some small swaps to improve eco-friendliness. It could even be as simple as investing in a reusable plastic mug for your morning coffee, saying no to plastic straws and bags, or buying veg that is packaging free. In this sense, lagom is not ground-breaking, we know we should be better to the planet, yet it reminds us that small actions go a long way when everyone is invested in the same common goal of looking after the natural world.

Pros and Cons of Lagom: Tray with tea and Lagom book

Live Lagom and Prosper?

The strong sense of moderation in Sweden and other Nordic countries extends to work, too. While Londoners cram an extra day into the working week, wracking up 8.2 hours of overtime on average each week, Swedes tend to stick to their formal hours. In fact, according to Eurostat, the working week in the UK is the longest in Europe at an average of 42.3 hours. Sweden’s working week is 39.9 hours, on average.

We live in a screen-dominated culture that glorifies busy and leads us to believe that to be successful, we must be working long hours and sacrificing our sleep and social life. While long days can be unavoidable at times, what would happen if Londoners applied some lagom-style principles to their work-life balance? According to Brones, this means changing our attitude to work. She writes, “We have a tendency to approach life-work balance by starting with the question ‘How can I work less?’ What if we instead asked ourselves ‘How can I work better?'” She advises us to work smarter with better planning and prioritising as “quality work doesn’t necessarily mean working more hours, just as working fewer hours doesn’t always mean producing work of a lesser quality.”

Fika, another untranslatable word which broadly means ‘coffee break’, also plays a role in making the Swedes efficient at work. It means making time to slow down and switch off from your work stress for a short period. While perhaps easier said than done, it’s often quoted as key for the productivity of the Swedes.

And finally, allowing ourselves to digital detox and unplug from our modern ‘always-on’ work and screen culture  helps us to recharge and re-find our creativity and motivation. Arguably, this is also pretty important for doing well at work and having those eureka moments.

Everything in Moderation

While finding balance with work and caring for the environment are undeniably positive consequences of embracing lagom principles, there is a side to the concept that doesn’t mesh well with London’s personality. As highlighted above, lagom promotes moderation and this encompasses everything in life, not just how we recycle or how long we spend at work. Yet, when delving deeper, critics of lagom highlight that this can promote moderation in personality, too. Being ambitious can be seen as showing off, whereas in London, entrepreneurialism, innovation and going the extra mile are seen as things to be celebrated.

In his Guardian article, writer Richard Orange, claims that after spending some time living in Sweden, he noticed that not all Swedes are pro lagom. Which, he mentions, differs to the Danes, who are all “fanatical” about hygge. He offers that during the past 20 years, Swedes are removing themselves from the “self-restraint” associated with lagom. And finally, he begs us not to adopt lagom as a lifestyle trend in the same way that hygge was commercialised.

Lagom and London

Where does this leave us in London? Many articles around lagom focus on the pros or cons of one aspect of the concept. Yet, to truly adopt lagom and find the Swedish formula for happiness, must we adopt all aspects, the good and the bad?

At this point, it’s useful to return to Akinmade Åkerström’s writing on lagom. She explains that lagom means making the optimal decision for the situation and group of people that you are with. The group is considered important as, in reality, a ‘lagom’ quantity of something will be considered different to different people. This could, of course, create conflict. According to Akinmade Åkerström, lagom “insists that people conform to ensure harmony and not bring their individual levels of lagom into the group because it can cause jealousy and breed resentment.” And ultimately, in an interview with The Local, Akinmade Åkerström highlights that “what makes it very Swedish (or Nordic) is just how often lagom pulls us from individual focus to group focus.”

Her argument to those that criticise lagom of being uninspiringly moderate, is that “re-centring lagom back to its optimal core carries a more holistic view of the choices we make in our lives.” In other words, to live lagom is to be encouraged to consider all the decisions we make in life collectively and find our own levels of contentment across the board, instead of in just one area of our lives. And this is arguably an approach to life worth trying.